Implement Lazy Loading of Images in ListView for Android

Implement Lazy Loading of Images in ListView for Android

Implementing lazy loading of images in ListView for Android apps can significantly enhance performance and user experience. This guide will take you through the step-by-step process, best practices, and tips for efficient image loading in Android's ListView component. By the end of this post, you'll understand how to effectively implement lazy loading in your Android app.


Lazy loading is a design pattern that defers the initialization of an object until the point at which it is needed. This approach can be especially useful in mobile app development to improve performance and reduce memory usage. In the context of Android apps, lazy loading images in ListView means loading images only when they are about to be displayed on the screen, rather than loading all images at once.

Benefits of Lazy Loading Images in ListView

Implementing lazy loading of images in ListView comes with several benefits:

Improved Performance

Lazy loading reduces the initial load time of your app by deferring the loading of images until they are actually needed. This results in a smoother and faster user experience.

Enhanced User Experience

By loading images only when needed, users experience faster scroll times and less lag, making the app feel more responsive.

Reduced Data Usage

Lazy loading helps minimize data consumption by only downloading images when necessary, which is particularly beneficial for users on limited data plans.

Preparing Your Android Project for Lazy Loading

Before diving into the implementation, you need to set up your Android project with the necessary dependencies.

Setting Up the Development Environment

Ensure that you have the latest version of Android Studio installed. Create a new project or open an existing one where you want to implement lazy loading.

Adding Necessary Dependencies

For lazy loading images in ListView, popular libraries such as Picasso and Glide are highly recommended.


Add the following dependency to your build.gradle file:

implementation 'com.squareup.picasso:picasso:2.71828'


Alternatively, you can use Glide:

implementation 'com.github.bumptech.glide:glide:4.11.0'
annotationProcessor 'com.github.bumptech.glide:compiler:4.11.0'

Implementing Lazy Loading in ListView

Now let's dive into the actual implementation process.

Creating the Layout

First, define your ListView layout in an XML file.

<LinearLayout xmlns:android=""

        android:layout_height="wrap_content" />

Developing the Adapter

To efficiently manage and display the images, you need to create a custom adapter.

Custom Adapter Class

Create a new class CustomAdapter that extends BaseAdapter.

public class CustomAdapter extends BaseAdapter {
    private Context context;
    private List<String> imageUrls;
    private LayoutInflater inflater;

    public CustomAdapter(Context context, List<String> imageUrls) {
        this.context = context;
        this.imageUrls = imageUrls;
        this.inflater = LayoutInflater.from(context);

    public int getCount() {
        return imageUrls.size();

    public Object getItem(int position) {
        return imageUrls.get(position);

    public long getItemId(int position) {
        return position;

    public View getView(int position, View convertView, ViewGroup parent) {
        ViewHolder holder;
        if (convertView == null) {
            convertView = inflater.inflate(R.layout.list_item, parent, false);
            holder = new ViewHolder();
            holder.imageView = convertView.findViewById(;
        } else {
            holder = (ViewHolder) convertView.getTag();

        String imageUrl = imageUrls.get(position);

        return convertView;

    private static class ViewHolder {
        ImageView imageView;

ViewHolder Pattern

Using the ViewHolder pattern improves the performance by reducing the number of calls to findViewById.

Loading Images Efficiently

Using Picasso for Image Loading

In the getView method of your custom adapter, use Picasso to load images:


Using Glide for Image Loading

Alternatively, you can use Glide:


Best Practices for Lazy Loading in ListView

To ensure optimal performance and user experience, follow these best practices:

Reusing Views

Always reuse views in your adapter to avoid unnecessary inflations and reduce memory usage.

Handling Large Images

Resize large images to appropriate dimensions before displaying them to prevent memory issues.

Managing Network Calls

Use a caching mechanism to avoid redundant network calls and improve loading times.

Example: Lazy Loading Implementation in a Simple Android App

Let's walk through an example to implement lazy loading in an Android app.

Step-by-Step Code Walkthrough

Setting Up the Project

Create a new Android project in Android Studio and add the necessary dependencies for Picasso or Glide.

Implementing the Custom Adapter

Follow the steps mentioned earlier to create a custom adapter for your ListView.

Integrating Picasso/Glide for Image Loading

Use Picasso or Glide in the getView method of your custom adapter to load images efficiently.

Testing the App

Run your app on an emulator or a physical device to ensure that images are loaded lazily and the app performs well.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting Tips

While implementing lazy loading, you might encounter some common issues:

Image Flickering

To prevent image flickering, ensure that the image loading library you use handles image caching properly.

Out of Memory Errors

If you encounter out of memory errors, resize large images and use a library that manages memory efficiently.

Slow Loading Times

Ensure that your image URLs are accessible and the server response times are quick to avoid slow loading times.

Comparisons: Picasso vs. Glide for Lazy Loading

Both Picasso and Glide are excellent choices for lazy loading images in ListView, but they have some differences:

Ease of UseVery EasyEasy
CustomizationLimitedHighly Customizable


Glide generally performs better with larger images and complex scenarios due to its more efficient caching and memory management.

Ease of Use

Picasso is very straightforward to use, making it a good choice for simpler projects.

Customization Options

Glide offers more customization options, which can be beneficial for more complex image loading requirements.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Lazy Loading


Faster App Performance

Lazy loading significantly reduces the initial load time, making the app more responsive.

Reduced Bandwidth Usage

Only the necessary images are loaded, which conserves bandwidth.


Initial Complexity

Implementing lazy loading can be initially complex and may require additional coding.

Potential for Overhead in Setup

Setting up and configuring libraries like Picasso or Glide may introduce some overhead.


What is the best library for lazy loading images in Android ListView?

Picasso and Glide are both excellent choices for lazy loading images in Android ListView. Glide offers better performance and more customization options, while Picasso is simpler to use.

How does lazy loading improve app performance?

Lazy loading improves app performance by loading images only when needed, reducing initial load time, memory usage, and data consumption.

Can lazy loading be used with RecyclerView as well?

Yes, lazy loading can be implemented with RecyclerView. The principles and methods are similar to those used with ListView.

What are some common errors encountered with lazy loading?

Common errors include image flickering, out of memory errors, and slow loading times. These can be mitigated by proper caching, resizing large images, and ensuring fast server response times.

How do I handle image caching with lazy loading?

Most image loading libraries like Picasso and Glide handle caching automatically. Ensure that your library is configured correctly to take advantage of caching features.


Implementing lazy loading of images in ListView for Android apps is a powerful way to enhance performance and user experience. By following the steps and best practices outlined in this guide, you can efficiently load images and provide a smoother, faster app. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

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